Birthing Ayurveda: Week 14—Clean Up

Birthing Ayurveda: Week 14—Clean Up

Welcome to Birthing Ayurveda, where we follow one woman's pregnancy experience week by week—from a positive home pregnancy test all the way to delivery.

Through cleanliness and purity of body and mind (Saucha, Shudhi) comes a purification of the essence (sattva), a goodness and gladness of feeling, a sense of focus with intentness, the mastery and union of the senses, and a fitness, preparation and capability for self-realization.

—Patanjali, Yogasutras II.41

For those that are familiar with the Patanjali Yoga Sutras (the ancient scriptures that first talked about yoga) and its yamas (social disciplines) and niyamas (individual disciplines), you will recall that one of the niyamas is sauca (cleanliness). Over the years, this concept has broadened in its meaning and applicability in my life.

It went from applying cleanliness to my physical body and my room and house (removing clutter and keeping my body in proper shape), to understanding cleanliness as proper diet and not consuming things that are more toxic or not beneficial to my body. I have also appreciated being aware of toxins in my environment and the many sources of those toxins (household cleaners, detergents, plastics).

But on a deeper, more subtle level, sauca is about the cleanliness of the mind—removing anger, pride, deceit, greed, and all defilements of the mind. It has been my experience that the grosser physical, and the more subtle mental, are intimately connected. The more I clean my external environment, the more I see my mind shift towards purity. Likewise, as I work on my internal environment, I become more organized, less cluttered, and I have noticed that even my color preferences may change (I may choose lighter, more sattvic colors, for instance).

Since my body and Charlie's body (Charlie is what we call the baby) are practically one, bringing sauca to my mind, body, and environment will do the same to Charlie's. Over the last month or two I have really been working on my internal sauca. This week I started considering strongly how to increase sauca in my external environment and see if I can do anything else to decrease any hazards or toxicity externally.


clean up


Here is my overall checklist:

  1. Avoid using toxic cleaners. Alternatives include:
    1. Vinegar and water (equal parts) solution as a good surface cleaner.
    2. Baking soda and water paste to clean harder spots. You can add salt for a gritty texture and borax for extra power. Another alternative is grapefruit.
    3. Lemongrass, oregano, sweet orange, and tea tree are good essential oils to fight bacteria and fungus.1
    4. There are a number of companies that sell readymade natural cleaners as well!
  2. Store food in glassware, and minimize the use of plastic. Canvas bags and boxes work really well as an alternative to plastic bags.
  3. Increase airflow in the house by opening windows when possible. This helps the movement of prana.
  4. Bring a sense of life and prana into the house with live plants and fresh flowers.
  5. Make sure the north and east parts of the home are open and welcome air and energy from these benevolent directions by opening the windows and doors.
  6. Decrease clutter. Find good places to store things and if things must be left on a table or counter find nice boxes to store them in. Wash blankets that have not been washed in some time.
  7. Change your filters. Air filters are often forgotten but an air filter can make a big difference in the air quality of your home.

Making a few changes with even just some of these tips can change the entire feel of your home. See how you feel physically and mentally by embracing this very powerful niyama.

About the Author

Vrinda Devani, MD, AP

Vrinda Devani, MD, has a passion for women's health and empowering women towards vibrant health and living. She is a believer in unfolding the...

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1 Kayla Grossman. “DIY Natural All-Purpose Cleaner,” The Radiant Life (blog), September 1, 2015,